1934 · Princeton, NJ
This letter, in addition to underscoring Einstein's passionate stance against fascism, is particularly important as documentary evidence of Einstein's caution about having any dealings with communism, especially considering that the U.S. FBI, worried about Einstein's political leanings, kept a file on Einstein that grew to 1427 pages. ALBERT EINSTEIN.
Typed Letter Signed ("A. Einstein"), in English to Professor Albert Sprague Coolidge of Harvard University, Princeton, NJ, February 16, 1934. 1p 8½ x 11 in. Envelope folds, minor spotting.
My dear Professor Coolidge:
I had an opportunity of meeting personally Lord Marley and has [sic] very favorably impressed by his personality. It became known to me that he sympathizes with the Russian Government, i.g. with the Russian communist party and that the committee for which he is active is influenced by communists.
The problem as to the attitude which is advisable to be taken towards this committee is rather complicated. On the one hand, the world-wide danger of fascism makes it necessary that all enemies of fascism cooperate; on the other hand, an action which has communist leanings might endanger that fight since the important task undertaken in defense of culture and civilization may be linked up with interests of a political party. I, myself have severed my connections with the committee, which, with my permission had used my name up to the end of last year.
It seems to me advisable to take an attitude as follows: to help their action against fascism, but not to identify oneself with the committee.
Very truly yours,
[signed] A. Einstein
P.S. I wish you would be good enough to use this strictly confidentially.
In 1934, Lord (Baron) Marley (Dudley Leigh Aman), toured the United States to raise funds for his association, the World Committee for the Victims of German Fascism. Marley, through his committee, was "passionately advocating a scheme for which he was to become an international figurehead – resettlement of oppressed German and Polish Jews in the Jewish Autonomous Region" in Siberia. He published a book, "The Brown Book of the Hitler Terror and the Burning of the Reichstag, sponsored by the World Committee and with an Introduction written by Lord Marley himself, [which] was the first popular exposé of what was happening in Hitler's Germany. It documented the destruction of political parties, trade unions and universities, book-burning, and the building of concentration camps.
"At a fundraising dinner held in his honour in New York in February 1934 [where Einstein presumably met him, just before writing this letter], Marley opened the Brown Book and 'speaking quietly, declaring that he did not intend to harrow', read aloud to his audience of 600 American Jews some of the collected evidence of Nazi repressions. Here were documentary records of what was happening in Germany – a substantiation of the brutality that hitherto had had no distinct form in the mind of the American Jewish public. What before had been the subject of a growing fear mingled with disbelief was now being presented as hard fact and supported with detailed evidence. The New York Times (8 February 2005) reports the audience being 'startled' by the disclosures, and the night ending with $3,500 raised for the World Committee" (The Jewish Quarterly, No. 198).
Einstein was correct to be suspicious of Marley's activities, for it was later determined that the "World Committee" was indeed a Communist front; Einstein, writing here to Coolidge in 1934, was prescient about the motives of the committee. (Inventory #: 24885)